Book Rankings

Finding the perfect book can be difficult. To help others avoid my struggles, I set out to create a tool for quickly browsing books related to leadership, education, and personal growth.

 

The end result is this book rankings list. The order is highly subjective and should not treated as gospel. Rankings are loosely based on each book's impact on my life, meaning you may discover a much different outcome.

There are two key ideas to keep in mind when exploring these rankings. First, I will often read something I believe to be insignificant, only to later realize the importance of the idea. These rankings reflect these new discoveries. Second, if two books share a similar topic, there is a good chance the book I read first will be ranked higher given my second encounter of the same information was not as meaningful. 

Check out my Book Summaries page where I provide three big takeaways, other key ideas, and an opportunity to purchase each book. 

Is a book too high, too low, or completely missing? Email me at dr.jaredrsmith@gmail.com with your thoughts!

Overall Rank
Book
Author
Genre
Genre Rank
Notes
1
Atomic Habits
James Clear
Personal Growth
1
Practical strategies teach you exactly how to form good habits and master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results
2
The Advantage
Patrick Lencioni
Leadership & Management
1
No better way to achieve profound improvement in an organization than by attacking dysfunction, politics, and confusion
3
Principles
Ray Dalio
Leadership & Management
2
Dalio shares the unconventional principles he's developed, refined, and used to create unique results in both life and business
4
Power of Moments
Chip Heath (+1)
Psychology
1
Why certain experiences can change us - and how we can learn to create such extraordinary moments in our life and work
5
The Leadership Challenge
James Kouzes (+1)
Leadership & Management
3
The gold-standard manual for effective leadership, grounded in research and written by the premier authorities in the field
6
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Stephen Covey
Personal Growth
2
Covey's beloved classic presents a principle-centered approach for solving both personal and professional problems
7
Good to Great
Jim Collins
Leadership & Management
4
Jim Collins analyzes the histories of 28 companies, discovering why some companies make the leap and others don't
8
The Total Money Makeover
Dave Ramsey
Finance
1
Dave Ramsey provides a simple, straightforward game plan for completely making over your personal finance habits
9
What Great Principals Do Differently
Todd Whitaker
Education
1
With heartfelt advice and practical wisdom, Todd Whitaker explains the qualities and practices that distinguish great principals
10
Hacking Leadership
Joe Sanfelippo (+1)
Education
2
When leaders use a collaborative approach for improvement, achievement soars and schools are full of enthusiastic members
11
21 Laws of Leadership
John Maxwell
Leadership & Management
5
If you want to make a difference in your life and in those around you, these "21 Laws" should should be required reading
12
Deep Work
Cal Newport
Personal Growth
3
The ability to harvest deep work is like a super power in our increasingly competitive twenty-first century economy
13
Getting Things Done
David Allen
Personal Growth
4
The ultimate book on personal organization, "GTD" provides a system for approaching professional and personal tasks
14
The Effective Manager
Mark Horstman
Leadership & Management
6
This hands-on practical guide distills the author's management training expertise into clear, actionable steps to start taking today
15
When
Daniel Pink
Psychology
2
Daniel Pink unlocks the scientific secrets to good timing that will help you help you flourish at work, at school, and at home
16
So Good They Can't Ignore You
Cal Newport
Personal Growth
5
Mandatory for anyone frustrated by their current job situation and eager to find a new way to take control of their livelihood
17
How to Win Friends & Influence People
Dale Carnegie
Psychology
3
Dale Carnegie’s time-tested advice has carried countless people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives
18
The Power of Positive Leadership
Jon Gordon
Leadership & Management
7
Being a positive leader is not just a nice way to lead, it's the way to lead if you want to achieve excellence and superior results
19
Culturize
Jimmy Casas
Education
3
Insights into what it takes to cultivate a community of learners who embody kindness, honesty, and compassion
20
Tools of Titans
Tim Ferriss
Personal Growth
6
This book contains the tools, tactics, and life hacks from highly successful individuals you won't find anywhere else
21
The Happiness Advantage
Shawn Achor
Psychology
4
Some great tips and research supporting how a positive and optimistic approach to life will ultimately lead to success
22
The Effective Executive
Peter Drucker
Leadership & Management
8
Drucker - the "dean" management philosophers - looks to the most influential position in management: the executive
23
Thinner This Year
Chris Crowley (+1)
Personal Growth
7
The book that tells every reader how to lose weight, discover new vitality, and get in the best shape of your life
24
Why We Sleep
Matthew Walker
Personal Growth
8
A revolutionary way of being cleverer, more attractive, slimmer, happier, healthier and of warding off cancer: a good night’s sleep
25
The 10X Rule
Grant Cardone
Personal Growth
9
Success is your duty, obligation and responsibility, and this book gives you guidance on how to achieve phenomenal goals
26
Bigger Leaner Stronger
Michael Matthews
Personal Growth
10
If you want to get muscular, lean, and strong as quickly as possible - regardless of age - you want to read this book
27
Radical Candor
Kim Scott
Leadership & Management
9
This book offers a guide to those bewildered or exhausted by management, written for bosses and those who manage bosses
28
The Innovator's Mindset
George Couros
Education
4
Encourages teachers and administrators to empower their learners to wonder, explore, and to become forward-thinking leaders
29
Dare to Lead
Brene Brown
Leadership & Management
10
Challenges everything you know about brave leadership and gives you actionable tools for choosing courage over comfort
30
ReWork
Jason Fried (+1)
Leadership & Management
11
In a world where we all keep getting asked to do more with less, the authors show us how to do less and create more
31
Digital Minimalism
Cal Newport
Personal Growth
11
If you’re looking for a blueprint to liberate yourself from the shackles of smartphones and screens, let this book be your guide
32
The 5am Club
Robin Sharma
Personal Growth
12
Discover the early-rising habit that has helped so many accomplish epic results while upgrading their happiness
33
The 4 Disciplines of Execution
Chris McChesney (+2)
Leadership & Management
12
4DX is a simple, proven formula for executing your most important strategic priorities in the midst of the whirlwind
34
Relentless
Hamish Brewer
Education
5
Hamish Brewer proves that passion, love, and thinking outside the box has the power to change children's lives
35
The 4 Hour Workweek
Tim Ferriss
Personal Growth
13
With time management and focus on the important things, people should be able to get much more done in a normal work week
36
Leading a High Reliability School
Robert Marzano (+3)
Education
6
With this user-friendly resource, you will learn how to implement powerful professional learning community (PLC) structures
37
How to Fail at Almost Everything...
Scott Adams
Personal Growth
14
Adams describes his unusual life and shares how he turned one failure after another into something good and lasting
38
Content Inc.
Joe Pulizzi
Leadership & Management
13
Joe Pulizzi flips the traditional entrepreneurial approach of first creating a product and then trying to find customers
39
Remote
Jason Fried (+1)
Leadership & Management
14
What you'll find in Remote is profound advice from guys who have succeeded in the virtual workforce arena
40
High Impact Instruction
Jim Knight
Education
7
Masterful resource for teachers to improve student achievement through a host of clearly defined instructional practices
41
Getting to Yes
Roger Fisher (+1)
Leadership & Management
15
This book offers a proven, step-by-step strategy for coming to mutually acceptable agreements in every sort of conflict
42
It Doesn't Have to be Crazy at Work
Jason Fried (+1)
Leadership & Management
16
Rejects the prevailing notion that long hours, aggressive hustle, and "whatever it takes" are required to run a successful business
43
The Compound Effect
Darren Hardy
Personal Growth
15
Outlines the fundamental principles that have guided the most phenomenal achievements in business, relationships, and beyond
44
EntreLeadership
Dave Ramsey
Leadership & Management
17
One-stop guide filled with accessible advice for businesses and leaders to ensure success even through the toughest of times
45
Tribe of Mentors
Tim Ferriss
Personal Growth
16
A compilation of tools, tactics, and habits from over 130 of the world's top performers and most successful individuals
46
It's the Manager
Jim Clifton (+1)
Leadership & Management
18
Who is the most important person in your organization to lead your teams through tough changes? It's your managers
47
How to Talk to Anyone
Leil Lowndes
Personal Growth
17
Lowndes offers nearly 100 easy and effective sure fire techniques for communicating your way to success
48
Super Thinking
Gabriel Weinberg (+1)
Psychology
5
Great problem-solvers rely on a set of frameworks that help them cut through complexity and separate good ideas from bad ones
49
Measure What Matters
John Doerr
Leadership & Management
19
In this goal-setting system, objectives define what we seek to achieve; key results are how those top-priority goals will be attained
50
How to Create a Culture of Achievement
Douglas Fisher (+2)
Education
8
No school improvement effort will be effective unless school culture is addressed, this book provides five pillars for attainment
51
I Will Teach You to Be Rich
Ramit Sethi
Finance
2
This book contains serious advice on personal-finance decisions from budgeting and savings to spending and investing
52
Happy Money
Elizabeth Dunn (+1)
Psychology
6
Fascinating and cutting-edge research in behavioral science to explain how money can buy true happiness
53
Not a Diet Book
James Smith
Personal Growth
18
Achieve incredible results from dieting and training while identifying the fads nonsense that get in the way of lasting progress
54
Ultralearning
Scott Young
Personal Growth
19
Learn a new talent, stay relevant, reinvent yourself, and adapt to whatever the workplace might throw your way
55
The Culture Code
Daniel Coyle
Leadership & Management
20
Coyle goes inside some of the world’s most successful organizations and reveals what makes them operate at high levels
56
Sleep Smater
Shawn Stevenson
Personal Growth
20
Good sleep helps you shed fat, stave off disease, stay productive, and improve virtually every function of your mind and body
57
Outliers
Malcolm Gladwell
Psychology
7
Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of "outliers" - the best and brightest, the famous and successful
58
Upstream
Dan Heath
Psychology
8
Dan Heath explores how to prevent problems before they happen, drawing on insights from unconventional problem solvers
59
Made to Stick
Chip Heath (+1)
Psychology
9
The instant classic about why some ideas thrive, why others die, and how to improve your idea’s chances in the "fake news" era
60
Leaders Eat Last
Simon Sinek
Leadership & Management
21
Sinek explains why some teams trust each other so deeply they would literally put their lives on the line for each other
61
Drive
Daniel Pink
Psychology
10
Pink exposes the mismatch between what science knows and what business does—and how that affects every aspect of life
62
10% Happier
Dan Harris
Psychology
11
Insightful, engaging, and hilarious tour of the mind’s darker corners and what we can do to find a bit of peace in our busy life
63
The Power of Habit
Charles Duhigg
Psychology
12
Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed
64
Crucial Conversations
Al Switzler (+2)
Leadership & Management
22
The quality of life depends on important conversations - this book teaches how to approach pivotal moments with confidence
65
The 4 Hour Body
Tim Ferriss
Personal Growth
21
Collective wisdom of hundreds of elite athletes, dozens of MDs, and thousands of hours of personal experimentation
66
Own the Day, Own Your Life
Aubrey Marcus
Personal Growth
22
One day of positive choices leads to a lifetime of concrete strategies for better living, optimal performance, and a stronger mind
67
Making Every Meeting Matter
Harvard Business
Leadership & Management
23
When you prepare for meetings, you’ll stay focused, solve problems, gain consensus, and leave each meeting ready for action
68
Real Money: Sane Investing...
Jim Cramer
Finance
3
Even after repeated boom and bust cycles on Wall Street, it’s still possible to make real money in the stock market
69
First, Break All the Rules
Jim Harter (+1)
Leadership & Management
24
Gallup presents the findings of its study of more than 80,000 managers revealing what the world’s best managers do differently
70
Everybody Writes
Ann Handley
Personal Growth
23
Handley provides readers with go-to guide for creating and publishing content that will help you thrive in the workplace
71
On Writing Well
William Zinsser
Personal Growth
24
This is a book for everybody who wants to learn how to write or who needs to do some writing to get through the day
72
The Intelligent Investor
Benjamin Graham
Finance
4
No guarantees or gimmicks, this timeless classic overflows with the wisdom at the core of all good portfolio management
73
Shifting the Monkey
Todd Whitaker
Education
9
Learn how to focus on your good employees first, and help them shift responsibility back to the under-performers
74
High Output Management
Andrew Grove
Leadership & Management
25
A practical handbook for navigating real-life business scenarios with the ability to revolutionize the way we work
75
The Hard Thing About Hard Things
Ben Horowitz
Leadership & Management
26
Essential ideas and practical wisdom for running an organization; covers dilemmas graduate school doesn’t cover
76
What Got You Here Won't Get You...
Marshall Goldsmith
Leadership & Management
27
One of America’s most sought-after executive coaches shows how to climb the last few rungs of the leadership ladder
77
The Infinite Game
Simon Sinek
Leadership & Management
28
Sinek reminds us that leaders who embrace an infinite mindset build stronger, more innovative, more inspiring organizations
78
Contagious Culture
Anese Cavanaugh
Leadership & Management
29
This exciting new era of work demands a workplace culture that is collaborative, productive, energized, and contagious
79
Start With Why
Simon Sinek
Leadership & Management
30
This books helps people become more inspired at work, so they can inspire their colleagues and customers
80
Bird by Bird
Anne Lamott
Personal Growth
25
Think you've got a book inside of you? Anne Lamott will help you find your passion and your voice to let it all out
81
12: The Elements of Great Managing
Rodd Wagner (+1)
Leadership & Management
31
Gallup used its database of 1 million interviews to identify the 12 elements most important for sustaining high performance
82
Stillness is the Key
Ryan Holiday
Psychology
13
Holiday shows why slowing down and practicing solitude is the secret weapon for those individuals who are charging ahead
83
Permission Marketing
Seth Godin
Leadership & Management
32
The groundbreaking concept that enables marketers to shape their message so that consumers will willingly accept it
84
Fierce Leadership
Susan Scott
Leadership & Management
33
From the author "Fierce Conversations" comes the antidote to some of the most wrongheaded practices of business today
85
Dealing with Difficult Teachers
Todd Whitaker
Education
10
This book provides tips and strategies to help school leaders improve, neutralize, or eliminate resistant and negative teachers
86
Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics
Dan Harris
Psychology
14
Too busy to meditate? Can’t turn off your brain? Curious about mindfulness but don't like the stigma? This book is for you
87
A Random Walk Down Wallstreet
Burton Malkiel
Finance
5
Talk to 10 money experts and you’re likely to hear 10 recommendations for Burton Malkiel’s classic investing book
88
Everyday Millionaires
Chris Hogan
Finance
6
Building wealth has nothing to do with your income, your background, or where you come from. It matters where you’re going
89
The Coaching Habit
Michael Bungay Stanier
Leadership & Management
34
Coaching should become a regular, informal part of your day so managers and their teams can work less and produce more
90
Do It! Speaking
David Newman
Personal Growth
26
Discover the principles, practices, and insider secrets of paid professional speaking success in 77 easy to read sections
91
5 Levels of Leadership
John Maxwell
Leadership & Management
35
Maxwell describes how to master each level of leadership and rise up to become an influential and respected leader
92
The One Thing
Gary Keller
Leadership & Management
36
Teaches you the tricks to cut through the clutter, achieve better results, dial down stress, and master what matters to you
93
The Little Big Things
Tom Peters
Leadership & Management
37
Those who want to improve their professional life will find great ideas in this compelling and very browsable book
94
The First 90 Days
Michael Watkins
Leadership & Management
38
Watkins offers proven strategies for conquering the challenges of transitions, no matter where you are in your career
95
Choose Yourself
James Altucher
Personal Growth
27
Frustrated with following the normal professional career path? Bet on yourself and forge your own trail to success
96
Ideas Ideas Ideas
Steve Bollar
Education
11
Ideas for celebrating student achievements, and the staff members who helped make those achievements happen
97
Multipliers
Liz Wiseman
Leadership & Management
39
Explore why some leaders drain capability and intelligence from their teams while others amplify it to produce better results
98
Retire Inspired
Chris Hogan
Finance
7
Whether you're 25 and starting your first job or 55 with your career winding down, today is the day to get serious about retirement
99
Finding Ultra
Rich Roll
Personal Growth
28
Rich Roll (yes, that's his name) shares his remarkable story of going through midlife transformation from out of shape to Ironman
100
The Laws of Human Nature
Robert Greene
Psychology
15
Greene's huge, complex book decodes the behavior of the people around you to help with success and self-improvement
101
Big Potential
Shawn Achor
Psychology
16
"The Happiness Advantage" author Shawn Achor shows how to unlock hidden sources of potential in ourselves and others
102
Death By Meeting
Patrick Lencioni
Leadership & Management
40
A blueprint for leaders looking to eliminate frustration among their teams, and create environments of engagement and passion
103
Epic Content Marketing
Joe Pulizzi
Leadership & Management
41
Pulizzi explains how to draw prospects and customers in by creating information and content they actually want to engage with
104
Growth Hacker Marketing
Ryan Holiday
Leadership & Management
42
Growth hackers believe products and businesses should be readily modified until they're primed to generate explosive reactions
105
The Tipping Point
Malcolm Gladwell
Psychology
17
A tipping point is the magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold and spreads like wildfire
106
Where Good Ideas Come From
Steven Johnson
Psychology
18
Questions such as "What sparks the flash of brilliance?" and "How does groundbreaking innovation happen?" are posed
107
Talk Like Ted
Carmine Gallo
Personal Growth
29
Public speaking coach Carmine Gallo explores what makes a great presentation by examining the widely acclaimed TED Talks
108
Tribes
Seth Godin
Leadership & Management
43
If you need to rally fellow employees, customers, or readers around an idea, this book will demystify the process
109
The Paradox of Choice
Barry Schwartz
Psychology
19
Everyday decisions have become increasingly complex due to the overwhelming abundance of choices we are presented
110
The 8th Habit
Stephen Covey
Personal Growth
30
The sequel to "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" is a guide to accessing and encouraging the human potential for greatness
111
A Liberated Mind
Steve Hayes
Psychology
20
Allowing ourselves to feel fully and think freely allows us to move toward commitment to what truly matters in our lives
112
Built to Last
Jim Collins
Leadership & Management
44
Jim Collins gives practical guidance to those who would like to build landmark companies that stand the test of time
113
How the Mighty Fall
Jim Collins
Leadership & Management
45
Offers leaders the hope that they can learn how to stave off decline and, if they find themselves falling, reverse their course
114
Great by Choice
Jim Collins
Leadership & Management
46
Ten years "Good to Great", Jim Collins asks: Why do some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, and others do not?
115
Talking to Strangers
Malcolm Gladwell
Psychology
21
Malcolm Gladwell offers a powerful examination of our interactions with strangers - and why they often go wrong
116
Perennial Seller
Ryan Holiday
Leadership & Management
47
Why do some products endure while most books, movies, songs, and pieces of art disappear quickly after initial success?
117
This Is Marketing
Seth Godin
Leadership & Management
48
Great marketers don't use consumers to solve their company's problem; they use marketing to solve other people's problems
118
Steal Like an Artist
Austin Kleon
Personal Growth
31
Nothing is original, so embrace influence, school yourself through the work of others, and reimagine to discover your own path
119
Influencer
Kerry Patterson (+4)
Leadership & Management
49
You'll be taught each step of the influence process including strategies for making change in your personal and professional life
120
How Full is Your Bucket?
Tom Rath (+1)
Leadership & Management
50
"How Full Is Your Bucket?" reveals how even the briefest interactions affect your relationships, productivity, health, and longevity
121
Get Rich with Dividends
Marc Lichtenfeld
Finance
8
This dividend investing book shows investors how to achieve double digit returns using a time tested conservative strategy
122
The Truth About Leadership
James Kouzes (+1)
Leadership & Management
51
Ten leadership truths showing what leaders must know, the questions they must answer, and the real-world issues they will face
123
Gorilla Mindset
Mike Cernovich
Personal Growth
32
Provides actionable steps you can take to bring your life to the next level, or even get yourself motivated for change
124
The Ideal Team Player
Patrick Lencioni
Leadership & Management
52
Lencioni presents a practical framework and actionable tools for identifying, hiring, and developing ideal team players
125
Stop Acting Rich
Thomas Stanley
Finance
9
Almost anyone can become wealthy - even without a super high income. Just stop acting... and start living like a rich person